Psalm 48

The beauty and glory of Zion
A beautiful psalm of David used as were psalms 46 and 47 for temple worship.
.1 ¶ <<A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah.>> Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness   City of our God Mount Zion and Jerusalem were intended as symbols of heaven and the dwelling place of God.
.2  Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
.3  God is known in her palaces for a refuge.
 3 God, in her palaces, has made Himself known as a stronghold. (NASB)
  Situation Rather "height." Jerusalem was higher than most of the surrounding area.
  City of the great King Jesus quoted this phrase as a title for Jerusalem mt0535. Also ps04604.
  Joy of the whole earth This was God's purpose which will be fulfilled only with the New Jerusalem re2101f.
  Sides of the north The temple was built north of the old city. See note below.
  See on da1144. See is1413.
  God is known This helps confirm our explanation about the sides of the north.
 4  For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.
 5  They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.
 6  Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
.7  Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.   Tarshish A very distant port in Spain. Only the strong ships would be prepared to go there.
 8 ¶ As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.
 9  We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
 10  According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
 11  Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
  Heard ... seen The greatness of God was seen in national history. The people here are to make His glory a present reality.
 12  Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell [count] the towers thereof.
 13  Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
 14  For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
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Sides of the north
This term may be best explained from the history of the development of Jerusalem. Mt. Zion originally referred only to the city taken from the Jebusites 2ch0502, 2sa0507. To the north on the same ridge, was another hill, Mt. Moriah. The temple and the palace of Solomon were later built there 2ch0301, 1ki0801. Then the whole ridge with both hills became known as Mt. Zion is0818, jl0317. On the hill to the north was the special dwelling place for God. Of course, it represented heaven. Lucifer aspired to take the divine throne which was in "the sides of the North." See is1413. If we attribute this psalm to David, we know he died before the temple was built. But he had it all planned and prepared much of the materials for his son Solomon to do the actual building. See top of page.

 "poetically for eminent, lofty, distinguished, as the ancients believed the north to be the highest part of the earth)." (JFB Commentary).